Saturday, September 2, 2017

Freedom Financial Helps You Protect Yourself During the Equifax Hack

enjoy with your finances
If you've spent any time online in the past week, you've probably already heard about the Equifax security breach that took place the week of September 8th. Equifax, a credit risk assessment company with access to the personal data of over 800 million consumers, experienced a cybercrime identity theft attack; this security breach gave criminals access to the full name, social security number, birth date, addresses, and in some cases drivers licenses, of an estimated 143 million Americans. There is a high likelihood that your credit information has been compromised- Freedom Financial is here with the steps you need to take to ensure that your sensitive information isn't used by criminals.

Check your credit

You may not know that the actual cyber attack on Equifax offices actually took place in early May- Equifax employees did not become aware of the issue until late July. This means that there's already a good chance that someone has been using your credit without your knowledge. Freedom Financial urges you to check your credit report as soon as possible, and to dispute any frequent items you see. The early you dispute these claims, the easier they will be to get resolved.

Freeze your credit.

After you check your credit and dispute any charges or items that you believe are fraudulent, Freedom Financial also advises you to freeze your credit account. Freezing your credit will give you a special PIN unique to you that anyone who attempts to open an account with your information will need. If you don't plan on opening any new accounts or making any major purchases in the near future, freezing your credit is a great way to ensure that your information is not remotely hackable.

Set up a 90 day fraud alert

A fraud alert is a temporary hold on your account that will require any company attempting to open an account in your name to first verify your identity. You can set a fraud alert on your account by calling one of the major credit monitoring agencies like TransUnion or Equifax and requesting a 90 day fraud alert be set on your account. Setting up a fraud alert might seem like a hassle, but it's another preventative measure that you can take to make sure your personal identity isn't being used for nefarious purposes.

Watch your taxes

Freedom Financial anticipates that a number of identity thieves may try to use consumers personal info to file a tax return this year in order to claim a refund that isn't theirs. If you get a notice after filing your taxes that says that your taxes have already been filed, this is a pretty good indicator that a thief has used your information, and you should report it immediately.

In order to protect yourself, try your hardest to file your taxes as early as possible this year to avoid the situation.

Consider Enrolling in TrustedID

TrustedID is a credit monitoring program by Equifax that “includes 3-Bureau credit monitoring of Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit reports; copies of Equifax credit reports; the ability to lock and unlock Equifax credit reports; identity theft insurance; and Internet scanning for Social Security numbers.” In light of the hack, Equifax is opting to provide a year of free access to TrustedID to everyone.

Keep in mind that Equifax faced a bit of backlash when it introduced the free year of access because a clause on the sign-up seemingly required you to waive your right to sue the company for the hack. However, Freedom Financial has found that following complaints, the company added an opt-out feature which allows you to retain your right to sue the company by sending a letter. This is something to keep in mind should you be considering legal options.

If you've been affected by the hack, don't panic- take action to protect your credit today.

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